Earlier this month, I spent a week at Goshen Elementary, in Prospect, Kentucky, helping third, fourth, and fifth grade art students create a cardboard city, inspired by the work of Annalise Rees. Rees is an Australian artist who looks at a cardboard box and sees, “…delightful banality and boringness, common to all, the magical gateway into childhood fantasies. Timber, brown paper and string. Fanciful musings, serious endeavours, temporary homes, moveable structures, emergency accommodation. Cubby houses, castles and beyond to purely practical means of storage. Home sweet home.”
Only the paint and adhesives were purchased for this project – and I should point out that even the paint was mixed in empty Breyer’s Gelato containers – everything else we used was diverted from the landfill. Packing materials, discarded math manipulatives, leftover mats from a framing business – it’s like a game of Where’s Waldo, when you look at the buildings and start to recognize each component.
Students created their contributions to this structure with no restrictions or plans regarding how it would all fit together in the end. Armed with glue guns, Liquid Nails, and fishing line, the art teacher and I, and two brave classroom volunteers, constructed our city in the foyer of the elementary school. It will remain on display through Friday, March 20, when the school hosts its annual Arts Gala – including music, theatre, dance, and visual art from all students, all grades.
Here’s a gallery of images from all sides of our city. Click on any image to enlarge and scroll through.